On April 8th 2015, Hamza Al-Sisawi attended the Mine Action Day celebrations at UNRWA’s Khan Younis Training Centre in Gaza. He was particularly happy to be there – he and his family narrowly avoided disaster after their home was contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the recent crisis.
When the earthquake struck Haiti on 12th January 2010, 12-year-old Christella was at school. The building collapsed on her and she spent the night and much of the next morning trapped under the rubble with the bodies of those who did not survive. After she was rescued Christella’s leg needed to be amputated at the upper thigh.
Agnes has to walk for nearly two hours to attend the weekly meetings organised in Gihango, a village in the west of Rwanda. "But it’s more than worth it. Before I got to know the group, I was too frightened to talk to other people. I was very reclusive. I felt so sad and afraid. When I was able to tell my story here for the first time, I cried like a baby. I felt relieved somehow."
In 2005, seven-year-old Kanha was playing in her family's courtyard when her father came home from his fields. He brought home a rusty metal object—scrap metal he planned to sell. The instant he brought his hammer down on the object it exploded. Shrapnel from the bomb killed him instantly, and the impact of the blast hurled Kahna across the courtyard. Her mother found her lying unconscious on the ground, her right leg torn to shreds.
Following ongoing clashes in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 8,000 people have fled to southern Burundi since 24 January. HI has assessed the needs of the affected populations, in conjunction with the NGO Terre des Hommes, and is planning to launch an emergency response.
HI is committed to ending the bombing of populated areas, a practice now commonplace in current conflicts, and which mainly affects civilians. What’s the best way to mobilise the support of politicians on this issue? What is HI doing to warn them and to encourage them to take a stand? HI’s weapons advocacy officer, Baptiste Chapuis, explains the advocacy work carried out since the beginning of 2017 with politicians in France.
Developments in mine clearance largely reflect recent changes in response environments. Thomas Hugonnier, head of Mine Action at HI, explains how this currently affects our mine clearance operations.